HYATTSVILLE, Maryland - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, in coordination with Prince George’s County, Department of the Environment (DoE), is constructing a project to manage stormwater at both Ridgecrest Elementary and César Chávez Dual Spanish Immersion schools, starting June 27, 2016.
The project includes the conversion of two non-functioning bio-retention ponds to submerged gravel wetland sites at both schools, with one additional gravel wetland site at César Chávez.
“In the past, after storms, there was nowhere for water from the parking lots, gutters and roofs to go; this created localized flooding and standing water, which would eventually get into the streams and pollute the river,” said Carol Ohl, Corps, Baltimore District, project design manager. “The submerged gravel wetlands will allow for the water to be naturally filtered through rock and wetland plants and put back into the soil.”
Excess nutrients are the principal stressor to the Chesapeake Bay. Sligo Creek subwatershed is one of the most heavily-urbanized subwatersheds within the Anacostia River watershed.
The benefits of this project should be threefold, according to design managers at DoE. The projects should alleviate nuisance drainage issues on the school grounds, and in turn should help reduce potential mosquito-breeding areas by reducing the amount of standing water. The projects should also help reduce the stormwater peak runoff amounts that erode natural stream banks and cause sediment and attached nutrients to flow into the Anacostia watershed and Chesapeake Bay.
The project will begin at Ridgecrest and will transition to César Chávez around mid-July. The goal is to work as efficiently as possible in order to complete the entire project and demobilize all construction equipment prior to the first day of school this fall. Some additional plantings of native vegetation may have to occur later in the year, but this will not entail heavy equipment.
Stringent safety protocols will be followed by the contractor on site to ensure the project area is secured, and the work is executed in a safe environment.
ARGO Systems LLC, out of Hanover, Maryland, is the prime contractor for the project.
The project construction cost, totaling $298,840, was cost shared using 75 percent funding from the Corps and 25 percent funding from Prince George’s County, which is the non-federal sponsor. The schools will be in charge of maintaining the projects once completed.